Cinderella Project honors founder’s legacy | TheUnion.com

Cinderella Project honors founder’s legacy

The Cinderella Project provides dresses and tuxedos for low-income students at all nine high schools in Nevada County.

Prom is a night of celebration, friendship and camaraderie for high school students, who often create memories that last a lifetime.

But students who can't afford the high price of a dress or a tuxedo can often feel left out or ashamed. That's why the Nevada County Cinderella Project has provided free prom attire for low-income high school students around the county for the past eight years.

Teri Nelson, founder of the Cinderella Project, died in August after a battle with lung cancer. But the dozen "fairy godmothers" who volunteer with the small nonprofit have stepped up to continue on her legacy.

The organization is moving to a new space next month at 650 Gold Flat Road, Nevada City, and lead volunteer Sarah Gordon is working on some new ideas to keep the project running.

The Cinderella Project keeps an inventory of over 1,000 dresses, and Gordon plans to open the new space up to the public during designated days for dress-borrowing fundraisers. Anyone from the community can borrow a dress for an event, clean it and return it in exchange for making a donation to the project. The goal, Gordon said, is to cut down on unnecessary spending and waste on fancy clothes while also raising money for a good cause.

The organization's mission is to "build self esteem while making prom dreams come true," and Gordon and the other volunteers plan to carry on that tradition for future high school students in Nevada County, so nobody is left out on a night that creates fun-filled memories.

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The project provides dresses and rental tuxedos to high school students based on referrals. Anyone can call in at 530-268-5172 to refer someone who could use help making it to prom, and volunteers will reach out to them.

For more information, visit nccinderellaproject.us.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.